The Millennial Express: Get On Board Or Get Out Of The Way
By Eric Meron
“Millennials,” “Echo Boomers,” and “Generation Y” are just a few of the names used to describe the group of young adults born between 1980 and 1995. There are nearly 80 million of them according to the 2005 CBS 60 Minutes report “The Echo Boomers.” These young individuals will pave the path of the future whether we like it or not.
This next generation will revolutionize how we in America do business. Another CBS 60Minutes report, “The Millennials Are Coming,” said that corporate America is “unnerved” by the Echo Boomers’ lack of business etiquette. Well, the Millennial train is coming and corporate America needs to get on or get out of the way.
Companies like the online shoe retailer Zappos.com have found unique ways to help with the influx of new “Millennial” employees. They often have crazy parades around the office, and have happy hours and a nap room. This seems like it would promote a lackadaisical attitude, but their employees are having fun at work and getting the job done. From 2000 to 2007, Zappos’ sales increased to a peak of $840 million dollars according to businessweek.com. CEO Tony Hsieh said the company has a goal of breaking the $1 billion in 2008.
So where does this upcoming generation want to work? Schedule flexibility and other employees of the same age are a must when looking for employment.
Jennifer Ortega, 23, of Queens says, “I think flexibility is the most important to me. I have a daughter and need to pick her up from school or leave for emergencies. I do not want to have to be penalized at my job because I am trying to care of my family. If they do for me then I will do for them.”
The Millennials want to have friends at work, and be able to schedule other activities before or after work because they want the ability to come in late or leave early. Jay Whelan, 22, of Queens says, “I would love to work at a place that would allow me to go to the gym in the morning and come in later. I mean, I wouldn’t like abuse it, but the option would be cool.”
Do not think they miss the big picture. Millennials understand if they miss some time at the office that they are expected to still complete their tasks on time. They are actually more concerned about completing the task at hand than being in the office for a specific amount of time. They feel tasks should have a starting point and an ending point giving them the flexibility they so desire. If they finish the tasks early they want to be able to leave and go to a yoga class.
On site activities are also a big incentive. Specialty rooms are huge motivators for Millennials. The nap rooms at Zappos or the pool table in the employee lobby at Google are huge benefits. The younger employee sees these as places to relieve their daily stress and helps them to cope better with the office life they all seem to dislike so much.
One major point we are missing is that every employee, regardless of age, has to deal with stress at work. If the Millennials have come up with a means to deal with stress why then are the older generations so opposed to it. If someone can make the work environment better for everyone why fight it. Do the Baby Boomers feel that the Millennials have not earned their rights to flexible schedules and nap rooms?
The Millennials are obviously the future on this country and they are not a generation that is going to change. Now is the time to begin to adapt to some of their styles even if older generations do not agree. Ortega says, “One day I might get promoted over someone who was my boss and didn’t like my requests. That person may find it difficult to work for me.”
Look out America, like the Blob, the Millennials will slowly but surely take over everything we know. Embrace the future and get your ticket for the Millennial Express. All Aboard.